Orono Middle School Students Celebrate Blue Ribbon Award 

Students at Orono High School celebrated a big honor Tuesday.Earlier this fall the school was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.Students at Orono Middle School usually sport maroon and white to show off their school pride.On this day, it’s a sea of blue. Principal Robert Lucy says,”We’re proud to be one of only 27 middle schools across the country that were named a 2011 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in the High Performing schools category. “Student Meg Pandiscio agrees, “We were all very happy and we think we deserve the award.”The honor was handed out in September based on categories such as standardized tests, curriculum and school activities. Teacher Ellen Carr says, “There’s so many outstanding schools but it’s really about our students. Our students are awesome and they just give it their all. Every day they come in they’re ready to learn and we’re ready to work with them.” Carr says the award points to the support of parents and the community, too, which have even helped the kids get a taste of college life.”Without that parent connection, without that university connection, that wouldn’t have come together. Our students were able to sit among college students and ask questions and feel like they were important to that whole learning experience.”Tuesday’s school assembly also helped the students realize how important they are – and how many hope their learning doesn’t stop here. UMaine President Paul Ferguson told the students “I’m looking out at seeing a lot of future Black Bears because excellence breeds excellence and want you to be a part of that the rest of your educational career.”Lucy says, “I say to our kids it’s cool to do well in school and we want you to work hard, we want to support you and we want to help you realize your greatest potential.”School administrators officially picked up the award last month in Washington, D. C.Besides Orono Middle School, Eliot Elementary School was the only other school in Maine to receive a National Blue Ribbon this year.